Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the stage during the company’s Spring Forward event to launch the Apple Watch. Within all the other bits of news flying around during the packed event, he did let slip the status of CarPlay, Apple’s foray into making your in-car infotainment system more integrated and intelligent through augmentation with a smartphone.
About year after Apple first announced CarPlay and started lobbying automakers to become partners, Mr. Cook said in a very straightforward manner that 40 models of vehicle that are confirmed for a 2015 release will have CarPlay integration built-in.
He also let fly that “every major car brand has committed to delivering CarPlay”. Thing is though, Toyota, a major car brand (ahem, the biggest), is famously missing from that list, and has been for some time. Don’t get me wrong, Toyota isn’t entirely averse to the idea and is in fact listed on Apple’s partner page for CarPlay, but they have not yet committed to a release timeline.
A point of relief for Apple is that Toyota also has not thrown their hat in with CarPlay’s competitor, Android Auto, either. Again, it’s not pushing it away, but it has not committed to placing it in its models in the near term yet.
Ceding control over the in-car screen to a third party is something that may be a tough pill to swallow as a manufacturer who has been developing a proprietary system for years now, but the response to a unified user experience between a smartphone and a car has long been called for.
Perhaps things might change when automakers like Audi, Ford, Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz, over the course of the year, start the rollout that the customer interest becomes too high for Toyota to ignore. In the meantime, there are aftermarket systems already on sale from Pioneer and Alpine that do offer CarPlay capability.
Hopefully we’ll see CarPlay and Android Auto enabled cars in our showrooms soon.